A CASE STUDY: GENES VERSUS ENVIRONMENT
Knowledge is powerful stuff.
I know you know.
The greater knowledge we have, the BETTER choices and decisions we can make.
So I am here, for your benefit, sharing some knowledge I discovered along the way.
My full time job is reading, researching and working with people to better understand what makes us do what we do.
And experience the outcomes we do.
A few years ago I had a fascinating experience with a client of mine.
Which supports my observation that the medical ‘healthcare’ system, really doesn’t understand the importance of the environment on our behaviour (and therefore results) and therefore treats ‘symptoms’ with the wrong stuff, which barely touches the root cause.
Let me share this case study of mine, and you can decide if it was primarily a ‘Gene’ thing or an ‘Environmental’ thing.
I will let you be the judge.
I will also leave this section with a quote from Paramahansa Yogananda – who was highly influential in bringing traditional yoga to the west.
He said: “The environment is stronger than the will.“
The Case Study: Sally
Let’s call my client ‘Sally’.
She was an Indonesian girl in her mid twenties, who appeared to be well-educated, intelligent and well-traveled.
On asking her a number of questions, I established that she had been ‘diagnosed’ with bipolar, and has been prescribed a number of medications (mood stabilizers, like lithium, which sounds like a battery component…) over the years.
She was experiencing feelings of being lost, depressed, confused, disconnected and numb.
And the treatment of these psychological and emotional symptoms, were treated like a genetic defect or ‘chemical imbalance’ (like a lithium deficiency ;-)).
But here is her personal history..
The Environmental History of ‘Sally’
Sally’s mum got pregnant out of wedlock.
Sally’s grandfather was a politician and on the climb.
Sally’s grandfather decided (so he would not be embarrassed) that Sally’s mum should go to the USA, and stay there until she had the child (Sally).
Sally’s grandfather would then adopt a child (Sally), and she would then be positioned as the ‘sister’ of her mum.
This played out through Sally’s life until she was in her late teens, and then was told that her older sister was actually her mum – but don’t tell anyone outside the immediate family (no cousins, uncles, aunt’s, etc.).
So Sally had to maintain two different identities.
The one where her mum was her mum, and her grandfather was her grandfather (not her dad).
The other one was where her mum was her sister and her grandfather was her father (a lie).
It sort of sounds like the creation and experience of split personalities.
Trying to hold two stories in the one mind.
It is not too unreal to imagine that one story (identity) is held in the logical compartmentalizing left hemisphere, and the other identity is held in the right hemisphere, which has a greater ability to hold context and complexity, within the outer world.
So here is the question for you?
Do you think there is likely to be a genetic disorder, or chemical imbalance; or have the environmental pressures of living a lie for her whole life, created disconnection, disassociation and confusion at a mental and emotional level?
Now I am not a doctor, neuroscientist or psychiatrist, but to my mind the root cause is most likely environmental, and that is where the focus needs to be. The focus and majority of the work needs to be bringing the two worlds together (aka: integration of the mind).
Letting go of the lie.
And embracing the ‘Truth‘, regardless of how uncomfortable it might be for some people.
The Truth can be a tough thing to bring out late in the game, but it is powerful.
And I believe a great healer.
There is a harmony, energy and resonance to the Truth.
We have all felt it before.
The feeling of emotional weight falling away, as we tell the Truth.
It feels good at a deep, soul, gut, and sense-of-self level.
There is sense in that saying: “The Truth will set you free.“
My main point, and takeaway
The environment you live in, breathe in, surround yourself in and the way you think, feel and act in that environment; has a much greater impact on your physical and mental health than your genes.
The last Pillar in my book The Guidebook to Optimum Health talked about the need to take care of your emotional and psychological environment, to attain peak health.
And sometimes that means healing or harmonizing the Past environment, to bring peace into the Now.
Don’t shy away from the inner work.
And don’t shy away from the Truth.
My Parting words
Not exactly a fun subject (sorry about that).
But an important one.
Often a chemical, medical intervention does not get to the root cause, and sometimes the medical labeling gives the impression that the ‘root cause’ has been found.
So the deeper investigation is stopped.
The investigation into what environment could have created a genetic destiny (the expression of genes through epigenetic (environmental) factors) resulting in a specific symptomology.
Your environment matters – a LOT.
Internal and external.
Past and Present.
What symptoms might you be experiencing that have an environmental origin?
It is definitely worth considering if you want to Thrive into the future.
Thanks for coming on this grown-up conversation with me.
Have a mindful day and an environmentally-aware, curiosity-inspired, week.
See you next week.